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What I've been up to.

It's been a strange and kind of stressful last few weeks. Lotsa good stuff but some bad stuff too. Getting the bad stuff out of the way, my uncle Frank Sumner passed away at age 76 two weeks ago. He had bone cancer and this had been coming for years. They gave him 6 weeks to live back in February and he survived until June. Gave him time to really put all his affairs in order which made it that much less stressful on the rest of his family. I'd only known Frank for about 14 years as he married my Mom's sister Kay in 96.He worked as a mechanical engineer for Burlington Northern Railroad for 35 years. He was in charge of maintaining their microwave communication towers. He loved to fish and cook fish. He and I went fishing together a few times and he never missed an opportunity to take his grandsons fishing on a weekend. I'll really miss him. My Mom's brother Bob was not feeling good and didn't attend the funeral. He had a stroke later that day so several of my relatives left after the funeral to go to the Hospital and be with Bob. My mom keeps going back and forth between Rushville, IL where our farm is and Carthage where Bob is in the Hospital. Mom has been in Illinois visiting since March when I gave her a ride back from NC with me. Dad was here since early May but left the day after the funeral to go back to NC as he has volunteer duties with the Boy Scouts. I leave Dubuque every weekend and drive 3 hours to the farm so I can mow and do maintenance.

We had our annual party last weekend. Big storm the night before and we were competing against several other redneck events like a testicle festival in Mt. Sterling and a tractor pull somewhere else close around. Still we had a bout 55 people come to our thing to eat and enjoy the several thousand dollar fireworks display. Mom was on her way back to Rushville from seeing her brother Bob on Saturday morning when she got the call that her sister Donna was being admitted to the Hospital in Rushville with complications from COPD and Donna's husband Lee was being admitted to the hospital in Springfield with pneumonia. If it seems like I have a lot of relatives, note that my Mom comes from a family of 9 kids, seven of which are still alive. I have 27 first cousins on that side of the family alone and nearly all of them are parents or grandparents now so each family reunion is an exercise in meeting new cousins. Plus it's a lot of people who could potentially be unhealthy at one time...especially the older crowd. Mom's brother Bob is 83. My Mom is one of the middle kids at 72 so they span from early 60's to early 80's in age. Over the past few months, I've seen my Mom's hair go from salt and red pepper to nearly white. She's one of the big caretakers of her family. Easy to see where I get it.

I did a photo shoot with sextanika back in late May that yielded a bunch of nice portrait shots like this one. . I still have images from that shoot to process and we plan to do another shoot in the future.

A week or so later, I met nayrene in Kansas City so we could have an adventure together with a few days off. We went walking in the tallgrass prairie in the Flint Hills of Chase County. Went to the Flint Hills Rodeo. Ate lots of great food. And took in the nightlife of Kansas City. It was great seeing and spending time with Nairne again. It's hard when you don't see your friends and loved ones but a couple times a year sometimes. You tend to want to cram a bunch of stuff in a short period of time.

Since I've been back from vacation, I've been focusing on getting my photography and jewelry websites going and getting photos together for a couple of summer competitions. I've dedicated myself to getting one unique photo per week of Dubuque, IA. Here is what I've shot so far for this.

The Full Moon setting over St. Raphael's Cathedral

Twilight on Lower Main Street

Sunset and Moonrise behind the Clock Tower

We had a huge storm last night with tornadoes nearby and we just had an earthquake. Plus all the rivers are at flood stage. Guess we just need a wildfire to complete our disaster package.




( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 23rd, 2010 09:00 pm (UTC)
testicle festival? i'm not sure i want to know...

that last image is stunning.
Jun. 23rd, 2010 09:07 pm (UTC)
The Mt Sterling Testicle Festival is a yearly event celebrating the consumption of Rocky Mountain oysters. Thus Testicle Festival.


Jun. 24th, 2010 03:57 am (UTC)
Beautiful photos!


Sounds like all the elements are at work in your town...
Jun. 24th, 2010 04:45 am (UTC)
Seems like it. I've gotten lucky with the photos lately.

Jun. 24th, 2010 04:12 pm (UTC)
So sorry to hear about your uncle Frank. He sounds like someone I could have talked shop with.

Even among your stress, it sounds like you had some fun stuff to counter it. And the pictures, well, all are amazing.

Jun. 24th, 2010 04:27 pm (UTC)
Thanks Man. Yeah Frank was a great guy, He had no enemies that anyone knew of.

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )


Wander aka StoneBear
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